(Originally Written Aug 13, 2016)
Life after divorce
A year ago today my Wife of 5-years left me. My point in mentioning this is that a lot has happened spiritually during this tumultuous time. I went from a family of 7 with 5 kids to living alone. I found myself starring at 4-walls, listening in the silence and seeking answers to life’s greatest questions. As much as this may start to sound like an incredibly sad story, something incredibly beautiful emerged. Hope and an inspirational new relationship with my Lord and Savior.
Focus on the good
As to not dive too deep into the madness side of the story, I would like to focus on the good and even more so the great things that transpired over this timeframe. One day soon after the initial separation, my four walls seemed to hauntingly shrink. Friends and family had pretty much scattered to the four winds and I knew action had to be taken. I decided to go on a walk. A walk with no destination in mind. It was kind of like that Forrest Gump moment when He just started running. I on the other hand was not in a rush to do anything in particular but I was searching. I don’t know exactly what I was searching for, but I knew something vital was missing, and I had to find it. I stepped outside and began to walk and guess who I ran into? God!
Now I have been a Christian since I was 8-years old. I had attended so many churches in my life that I easily lost count. I’ve been to Bible Retreats, workshops, mens Bible study groups and had even read the Bible from cover to cover one year. The thing is, I had lost my way. Note that I said “I” had lost my way and not that God turned away from me. What I had not realized is that I had literally replaced my relationship with Christ, with my Wife. I had not only lost sight of God but lost sight of myself and who I was. I had spent the past 5-years of my life living for and pleasing my Wife as the ultimate sign of my love for her. Hind sight I feel this is the main reason why I feel I lost her. Sure there were other significant items which contributed, but this self-betrayal was my ultimate demise. It is interesting to think how unconditional love can actually drive someone away under certain circumstances.
Painting I did describing my greatest mistake… putting my Wife before God.
Walking with God
I walked for miles that first day through commercial parking lots, suburban mazes of homes and golf course links. The silence was deafening at first and then the beauty of the world began to unfolded before me like an introduction to an inspirational movie. Life’s soundtrack began to orchestrate itself into an incredible crescendo of beauty. The sky’s color seemed to change in real time and I could literally see God’s creation evolve in front of me. The majestic wind in the trees, the gracefully moving clouds racing from one persons horizon, into mine, and then onto another.
Filling of the Holy Spirit
What I felt without a shadow of a doubt, was the Holy Spirit filling inside of me again. I felt the stresses from my life begin to melt away and I began to feel a warm unconditional love fill me, healing me, completely. As an artist, I could not help but stop and watch the universes ultimate creator show off his mad painting skills as a cinematic painting unfolded in a way that only our Lord and Savior could do. It was beyond words.
This was the first of many walks I had with the Lord. I literally felt His presence from that day forward as I knew I was no longer just “seeking” but I was literally spending time with the Lord. He began to teach me by rapidly processing my thoughts, coming to conclusions, making decisions and being led by Him in real time.
Men... Lead your Wives
One last thing I want to touch on that I feel is really important in regard to a lesson learned from my failed marriage. A Husband really does need to lead his Wife. Regardless of the dynamics, personality types, intellectual levels, or situation, a Husband must lead his wife in order to have her upmost respect. Women want to be lead by their significant others. Note that I did not say controlled by them or talked down to. Which brings be to what is a leaders responsibility.
I feel like I know a little something about leadership, having been in the United States Marine Corps, as well as being the son of a 23yr Army Officer. A leaders job is to guide, inspire, lead by example, show confidence and be willing to make mistakes. Poor leaders tell people what to do without doing the work themselves, they bark orders, they do not have the respect of the people around them, they are usually insecure on the inside and compensate by appearing invincible. I knew a lot about leadership and yet for some reason, I didn’t apply it to my relationship with my Wife. My advice is to never stop leading, especially with your Wife and children.
So lead your Wife’s men!!! For my sake, learn from my mistakes. Step up to the plate and swing. It is not too late even if you already have a reputation of letting your Wife run the show, or dictate how things are going to be. Start today and pick up a Bible, read some books about leadership or being a strong Christian man. (I would recommend John Eldredge’s book “Wild at Heart”.)
I found one of those inspirational signs in an artsy shop in Boone, NC. It simply read, “Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn”.